Grinding or Bruxism

Bruxism -- also known as tooth grinding -- can either directly or indirectly cause teeth to become painful or loose. Patients can literally grind away parts of their teeth, leaving them with worn surfaces or fractured enamel. There is no single theory for the reasons of grinding, but it is thought that both emotional and physical factors are involved. Some of the contributing factors may be stress or sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or crooked or missing teeth.

Treatment of Bruxism

There are a number of ways to treat bruxism. Your dentist will determine which single or combination of treatments is right for you. When stress is the major cause of bruxisrn, people need to find ways to relax. People who have difficulty handling stress may nee to seek counseling or the dentist may prescribe muscle relaxants to relax jaw muscles. To help alleviate muscle pain, physical therapy may be needed. The following tips can be helpful to prevent grinding: To kelp break the habit, place reminders around the house. To help relax clenching muscles, apply warm compresses to the side of your face. To relieve stress, cut down on caffeine, take warm baths and ease up on yourself. Because it is thought that an abnormal bite may predispose a person to grinding, treatment may involve removing the interfering "high spots" of a tooth. Another treatment involves wearing a plastic mouth guard at night to prevent tooth grinding. A night guard is a removable plastic device that prevents teeth from coming together. In some cases, such as an overbite, it may eventual improve the bite. A method used to treat the damage caused by more serious cases of grinding involves reshaping or reconstruction of the biting surfaces with crowns or inlays. Grinding is a common occurrence among many people at some time or another. If you develop facial pain, fatigue or other problems, treatment may be needed. Talk with your dentist if you suspect that you are grinding your teeth. Your dentist will help to relieve you from the daily grind of bruxism.